Hustle For The Muscle!

Dr. Danesh D. Chinoy is a leading Health and Wellness Coach, Sports Physiotherapist and Psychologist. He is also a prominent Facilitator, Educator and Administrator, Physiotherapist (Sports & Manual Therapy), Corporate Trainer and Psychologist. He is dedicated to guiding clients to succeed while inspiring an insatiable passion for learning and helping all to heal holistically and remain fighting fit for life. With a Doctorate in Sports Physiotherapy and a Masters in Psychology, Dr. Chinoy’s two-decades’ rich expertise has won him innumerable awards, nationally and globally. He is on a mission to serve society by empowering all to reach their peak performance.

Providing eye-opening and ground-breaking insights into Wellness, this week, Dr. Chinoy presents…

‘Bring On The Sunshine!’

You wake up in the morning, diligently do your ‘kasti’, still feeling a little groggy, you look up at the ceiling and all you can think about is what to eat for breakfast, bun maska and choi (tea) – followed with pora pav, akuri or sev and ravo. You get up, walk past the mirror and instantly start to feel a bit low about how you look, thinking, “Why can’t I just change? Why is this so hard? Everyone else seems to find it so easy!”

You visit your privy room with your mobile to read the hot topics and debates on various Parsi Whatsapp gossip groups while you were away. You sit down and your stomach hits your thighs. You sigh and hold your head in your hands wondering, when will this ever shift.

You make your way to the kitchen. The shelves are all full, yet everything seems so empty. Food choices are so confusing… “I’ll eat oats, as all the Bollywood stars eat that and they all look great. However, its carbs! Someone in your Baug said that carbs are bad. I’ll eat an apple instead. But wait… somewhere you had heard that the sugars in an apple are bad for you! I’ll just have choi – it’ll be fine. No sugar or milk though, as that’s all bad for me…. isn’t it?” So, you have your choi minus milk and sugar and for a moment you feel okay… reveling in that sweet feeling of victory. Sun-rise is breaking and it’s going to be a nice day. You turn to get washed and notice your shadow on the wall… wow, even my shadow is fat! Is this how people see me? 

How many of us can relate to this, especially in this work-from-home, extended lockdown phase? How many extra kilos has that the dhansak, curry-chawal and sali-papeto added to our waist-line? When it all boils down, it’s like a slap in the face. All of a sudden you knew the old excuses were… old… and this is your future. You could argue there’s never a good or convenient time, yet there is certainly the right time. Isn’t that time now? This lockdown has been a wake-up call in more ways than one. 

I have requests from many young readers asking for help in their quest to keep fit in this uncertain lockdown. With the former article on the ‘Home Work-Out’ for our seniors doing great for them, it’s now time to provide a similarly effective home work-out for our ‘juwaniyas’ too, not knowing when the gyms will be open and safe for regular use. Also, investing in a gym-membership or buying online expensive work-out equipment may not be viable to many in these days of pay-cuts and lay-offs. 

Here’s a simple and workable ‘Work-Out At Home’ program that can be followed anywhere, anytime and with  no additional requirements other than your will and your bodyweight literally! No need to invest in the services of a professional trainer/coach. A word of caution, every exercise program needs to be in line with your current fitness levels. If you have any pre-existing health and fitness concerns, please speak to your physiotherapist first. If in any doubt, get it out; please feel free to write to me whenever needed. The challenge is to see what you’re made of and the thrill of discovering the real you. Get fit and become a warrior to find personal freedom – when exercise is done right, your health and strength provides plenty of energy and lot more enjoyment in the quality of lifestyle! 

Before we start, have you heard of the term, ‘Conditioning’? Only an infinitesimally tiny number of people seem to understand it anymore. And sadly, even fewer actually practice ‘Conditioning’ or ‘Functional Fitness’. Imagine a beginner who wants to start working out; they wish to get leaner, more muscular, healthier and feel their best. Often, I see many recommending incredibly advanced routines even for beginners – that’s terribly dangerous, as most of these ‘recommended programs’ are actually designed for athletes.

My advice for all beginners is – Keep It Simple! Let’s ensure there are no injuries or adverse effects of an over-zealous program. Remember, your day exercises taught in school? Don’t give up on these basic exercises – like the simple warm-up – stretching, breathing, pull ups, push-ups and sit ups – and run after fad exercise programs. If you were a scout, you would remember your BP6 exercises you were made to do every morning at camp. Start with those simple movements and exercises that your body has been used to since childhood. Understand the concept of ‘muscle memory’ and know that the good form of exercises you learnt in childhood is your better bet to start your fitness journey. Progress gradually to advanced forms and techniques, as your flexibility and endurance grows. Remember – there are three things you need to work on in your fitness journey:

  1. Flexibility and balance;
  2. Strength and endurance; and 
  3. Aerobic capacity or stamina.

This full-body home workout is intended to be an overall fitness program to help you achieve a healthy, lean and muscular body. It is not solely a weight loss program, nor is it solely a bodybuilding program, but rather a gentle mix of the two to help the average, work-from-home person achieve  fitness levels with little (but optimal) time investment. This program is not for advanced trainees. It is equally efficient for men and women. You need to give yourself just thirty minutes a day for just a month to feel and see the difference… and then take it forward from there.

Let’s start off with the three basic exercises we learnt during our school days – Push-ups, Pull-ups and Squats. Please always remember to have a basic warm up and cool down before and after the exercises every time. I suggest you add any cardio activity of your choice, to these three simple but highly effective exercises.

(I) Push-ups are one of the best exercises to build upper body strength and definition. Military workouts include these for good reason. Push-ups primarily work your chest, shoulder, and triceps (push muscles) and secondarily engage your core muscles. To understand a good form Push-up, think of your body as one giant straight line – from the top of your head down through your heels. Your butt shouldn’t be sticking way up in the air or sagging. You’re essentially holding a plank throughout the entire movement. If you have a problem getting the proper form with your body, try this: clench your butt, and then tighten your abs as if you’re bracing to get punched. Your core will be engaged, and your body should be in that straight line.

(II) The Pull-up is the ultimate test of upper body relative strength and it builds muscle mass quickly as you increase your pull-up numbers. In fact, the armed forces use theses as an entrance test and require you to do at least 8 pull-ups to qualify. With Pull-ups, you’ll be working your pulling muscles. A correctly performed pull-up hits the upper back muscles, lats, traps, biceps, and abdominal muscles. Anyone who can do 10 or more pulls is clearly in great shape and will likely have a strong, pain-free upper back. You may hear the term ‘Pull-up’ and ‘Chin-up’ used interchangeably. However, there is a difference, so definitions are in order: A PULL-UP is when your hands are facing away from you. A CHIN-UP is when your hands are facing towards you. Chin-ups are generally easier to perform than pull-ups. The wider grip of a pull-up isolates your lats, which means you get less assistance from your biceps. 

(III) The Squat is, arguably, the king of all exercises as it works your entire body and activates your nervous system. While squatting heavy weights can build overall strength quickly, doing high volume of simple body-weight squats can be beneficial for muscle hypertrophy, endurance, and fat loss. The primary muscles worked are the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core – these are the major muscles that comprise the lower body. For a good form Squat, ensure that your weight is on your feet – it should be on the heels and the balls of your feet, as if they were glued to the ground. You should be able to wiggle your toes the entire movement (though that’s not a part of squatting)! Keep your entire body tight the entire time, your core flexed, like you’re bracing to be punched in the gut!

These three exercises – Push-ups, Pull-ups and Squats – collectively work all the muscles in the body, heavily work your core, and provide a heart-rate pumping workout to help you lose fat too. The last piece in this full body home workout routine is Cardio! While the three aforementioned exercises stimulate your cardiovascular levels significantly, adding in a cardio day really helps keep that metabolism high and burn unwanted calories.

Daily – do ANY ONE exercise. Say, you choose to do Push-ups on Day-1… you can do five sets of Push-ups, each set done till failure. Meaning, you will perform good form Push-ups till you feel you cannot perform anymore. Take adequate rest (not more than 5 mins) and start another set. The point of failure may vary in every set. Do not push your limits and always listen to your body.

On Day-2, pick up a different exercise and follow the same rules; say, you choose to do Pull-ups. Use your door beam or any makeshift hanging bar at your place. Perform a good form Pull-up in sets of five, similar to the Push-ups format. Again, remember to listen to your body and not to push your limits.

Day-3 can be for Squats to be performed in the same fashion. Now repeat the exercises in the same sequence over the next three days – Days – 4, 5 and 6. 

On Day-7, give yourself a break and perform only cardio-aerobic activity such as spot-jogging, skipping, stair climbing, dancing, running, cycling or simple brisk walking, for at least 40 minutes, with a 2-minute rest after the first 20 minutes, if needed. In keeping with the lockdown / virus threat conditions, swimming would not recommended, even if your society has a members pool opened.

This weekly sequence should be repeated week after week. This way, you’ll be working virtually every muscle in your body twice a week and burning more than enough calories to keep you lean, provided you keep your diet clean (eg. high in plant proteins and green vegetables, low in refined carbs). After all, the BIG difference between the TRY and TRIUMPH is that little UMPH!! Sweat it out until we meet next fortnight! 

As always do remember to write back to me at: / 8454800869.

Dr. Danesh Chinoy
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